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05 Sep 2013

ART IST KUKU NU UT 2013: Prada Pravda

Pravda Collection Autumn/Winter 2013. Photo by Gabriela Liivamägi

Prada Pravda
Festival of Contemporary Art ART IST KUKU NU UT


Sept 5 – Oct 27, 2013 Wed–Sun 11 am–6 pm Opening on Sept 5 at 5 pm /



Tartu Art Museum (Raekoja plats 18)
Gallery Noorus (Riia 11)
Y-Gallery (Küütri 2)
Tartu, Estonia

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Sept 5 – Oct 27, 2013
Tartu Art Museum, Noorus Gallery, Y-gallery in Tartu, Estonia
Wed–Sun 11 am–6 pm
Vernissage at Sept 5 at 5 pm at the Tartu Art Museum. Other exhibition venues are open from 3 pm.

Artists: Auto Italia South East, Wojtek Doroszuk, Kadi Estland, Dmitri Gerassimov, Dmitri Gutov and Radek Group, Sanja Iveković, Alevtina Kakhidze, Chelsea Knight and Mark Tribe, Laura Kuusk, Oliver Laric, Kris Lemsalu, Erkki Luuk, Deimantas Narkevičius, Franciszek Orłowski, Dan Perjovschi, Tanel Rander, Dominik Ritszel, Jaanus Samma, Chto Delat?, Anna-Stina Treumund, and Ulrich Vogl.
Curators: Marika Agu, Rael Artel, Kaisa Eiche, Triin Tulgiste, and Marie Vellevoog
Consultants: Neringa Černiauskaitė, Benjamin Fallon, Michał Jachuła, Maija Rudovska, Claire Staebler, and Vladimir Us.

is a location- and context-specific contemporary art festival that builds on itself through its program. One could imagine our activities as a layer cake where every consecutive layer is directly tied to the last and lies on top of it. In 2010 we used the project book 'ART IST KUKU NU UT. Subjective Research on Tartu Contemporary Art Scene and Appendixes' to map the Tartu art scene and tendencies in cultural life, employing that to design the festival's structure for the next two years – classics in the museum, visiting curator along with international artists in the largest exhibition space, young artists as KUKU NUNNUs in Y Gallery –; after two repetitions of the same format we felt the need for a different solution. We wanted to test the operation of collective curatorship, to discover the foundations it requires, and to determine how to bring forth the fruits of cooperation. We deliberately created an experimental situation and this year's festival is the result of this massive collective test.

About Prada and Pravda
For us, ART IST KUKU NU UT has always been a (word)playful enterprise – PRADA PRAVDA is another game and hopefully a worthy partner to ART IST KUKU NU UT and the exhibition HUH? PFUI! YUCK! AHA! WOW!. PRADA PRAVDA got its start from simple banter and since we liked the pair as it caused unexpected resonance, we decided to see whether we could tie the two funny and seemingly unrelated words together, and to fill them with meanings. The pair Prada-Pravda has for me an obvious link with last year's festival that we exited with three very different exhibition memories and one scandal. The last grew into one of last decade's most fiery debates on contemporary art in Estonian mainstream media that highlighted the need for self-reflection and the potential scale of discussions. The focus of the scandal, 'May 15 – June 1, 1992' by Jaan Toomik, received a worthy partner in 'Creative Estonia' by Flo Kasearu – a beautiful but empty jar.
Prada and Pravda are the equivalents of Toomik's and Kasearu's jars and now that there are two of the latter they highlight the evergreen dilemma: what is the role of the artist in the society – is it to speak the truth or to make pretty things? This inevitably leads to the question of what art should be like today under the conditions of neoliberal capitalism and free market economy. Should it be the uncompromising art that speaks honestly and brutally of the processes in the society or should it be the product that tries to please the public's expectations and go for mainstream appeal? What has changed in the life of art and in the social understandings of the function of art and culture in general in the 20 years that gape between the two jars?
Anyone can play with Prada-Pravda and browse through the five different association packages of the assembled exhibition to find just the right version for them. This year's festival is certainly not a set of works and ideas that have received the most accurate definitions; it is more like an open system where finding the meaning layers and clusters requires the audience to pay attention, to have persistence, obviously a bit of time and a sense of humor.

About the KUKU NUNNU curatorship school

In the two previous years the festival had the habit of organizing a competition for young artists to offer them an opportunity to curate a large-scale exhibition. Our previous KUKU NUNNUs have been young Tartu artists, but this year we decided to bet on young art scholars instead, inviting them to work with us. The KUKU NUNNU curatorship school is an experimental space, a learning-by-doing situation with dense polylogue between the KUKU NUNNUs and the festival organizers. The goal of the free-style curatorship school
is to offer young go-getters the experience of curating a major international exhibition, and to provide detailed help and feedback in every stage of exhibition curation. Curatorship is primarily a practice comparable to swimming – of course you can study the necessary techniques in the book and try them out on dry land, but real skills can only be gained in water and in the specific exhibition situation. We do everything together in the KUKU NUNNU curatorship school: from developing the exhibition's structure and principles into a choice of artists till installing the exhibitions.

About the publication
This year the exhibition PRADA PRAVDA is accompanied by a multifunctional publication the execution of which could be labeled somewhere between a classical catalogue, an exhibition guide, and a magazine. Edited by Marie Vellevoog, designed by Mikk Heinsoo, in Estonian and in English.

The ART IST KUKU NU UT exhibition program is accompanied by a copious education program; we will inform the general public separately of its contents.

The festival is supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, the Council of Gambling Tax, Tartu City Government.

See you soon in Tartu, Estonia!